written by Stacey P Horcher
What is the best of JHJ? Is it the camaraderie?? Is it the hilarious accounts of crazy customers misbehaving in unbelievable ways? Is it the fantastic deals we find here from Eric Zimmerman and Dustin Long? Is it the access we get to learning how other people handle marketing or store procedures? Is it the sympathy the group gives those who have suffered a loss or disaster? Is it the advice we get when we run into a new problem? Is it the friendships we make here and later “cement“ in person at trade shows?
I would argue that it is all of that and more. It is the synergy of working together to get it all done? It is the magic that happens when someone asks a question, and someone else sees that post and says,” I know someone who might know” and tags that person, and that guy knows someone else who solves the problem. It is the feeling of having not one or two friends in the industry, but rather, a whole family looking out for you, a whole extended jewelry family of people with literally every imaginable skill from wax carving to setting, from marketing promotions to advertising and custom CAD to packaging and displays. It is knowing that at literally any time of the day or night we can open up Facebook to the JHJ home page and find our jewelry family pondering right along with us what we are here for and what to do next to improve our lives and our business.
What we have made here, what Aleah has created, is a place for us all to have the feeling of the luxury of having a “business family” that is a great group of smart, experienced family here to help us all as they can. It’s the luxury of having a network that is so much more than a paid consultant, the luxury of having a living network of caring professionals who help when they can and who knows that their kindness will be returned, maybe by that same person, or maybe by someone else who saw them helping someone else in the past.
The magic of this group is that what goes around DOES come around. The magic is that the group has an astonishing capacity to give and receive help, and information and advice in a 4 dimensional “swimming pool” where a pearl expert can get information from an enameling expert, and the enameling expert can get help from a lapidary, and the lapidary can get advice from a refiner and the refiners can get help from the tool guy, and the tool guy can get help from the cad teacher who in turn can get help from the pearl expert. In this pool, anyone at any moment may be diving or surfacing or crossing diagonally, but where it’s always safe to ask or offer help as we are able, knowing it might not be a 1 for 1 transaction, knowing that it’s safe to give help today knowing someone else will be there to help us another day if we need it. It’s like a huge bank account into which we all deposit what we can, when we can, and withdraw as we need.
I often help others find the resources they seek. Last week, I personally experienced the magic of being on the receiving end of the help. I do a lot of stringing/restringing for the trade. Last week I received a box with two strands of pearls, one Tahitian with red tassels, brand new, and a vintage strand to restring, but with absolutely no identifying information! No business card, no return address, no way for me to know who sent it! I was shocked and scared. How can I figure out who sent this? I posted a picture of the USPS package and the contents of the box on JHJ asking for help figuring out who sent it. I felt panic worried that I might never find the owner.
Rewind a moment to last week. Last week I ran into Robert Knupfer at the JA show in New York. He told me that his friend Simon Ghassabian (a pearl dealer) wanted one of my leather and Tahitian pearl macrame bracelets for men, and Robert called Simon and handed me the phone. We chatted for a few minutes, I sent Simon a friend request, and we made a plan to meet up in Vegas. Just hours after I posted about the mystery package, Simon (my newest Facebook friend) commented on the post that he recognized the red tassels! Simon asked me to send a photo of the price tag, and using his inventory control numbers on the tag, he located the invoice! Simon found the name of the buyer and told me who to contact! Simon saved my day! He said “I love to help.” I contacted the guy, and he told me that he’d given the box and my address to someone inexperienced, who neglected to correctly manage the shipping!
This was an amazing rescue, and this could not have happened without JHJ. Once again, I am gobsmacked by the power of the love in this group! That’s way more than business, that’s family. JHJ family. Simon, send me whatever pearls you want in your bracelet, the macrame is on me!
This is the best of JHJ!